The Rees Arts Project is an ongoing part of our Aftercare package for care experienced people. So far, we have run four art exhibitions featuring paintings, sculpture, photography and poetry from the care experienced community, as well as a National Short Story competition. We believe that creative expression can be instrumental not only in the recovery process from trauma but in exploring identity and having your voice heard.
It is a well-established fact that accessing the creative part of our brains can have tremendous benefits to our mental health and wellbeing. During difficult times in our lives, this form of expression is more important than ever. With all of us doing the responsible thing and staying at home and being physically apart from each other, we can often feel disconnected and alone. With this in mind, we are launching Create It. The aim is to bring together creative people who have, at some point, been in foster and/or residential care. Every two weeks, we will put a collection of prompts or stimuli on this page and social media to inspire you. It could be a video of spoken word, a photograph, a poem, a painting or a monologue. You then have two weeks to work on your creative response to one or all of them... ALL ART FORMS ALLOWED!
You then share your work with us via our social media channels on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or email us : email@example.com Help with purchasing art equipment/material can be arranged just fill in our contact form. There are no age limits. You do not need to be a “professional” in your chosen art form; just have an interest! You never know, your creativity could inspire others! Let’s connect.
Update : In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, we are postponing plans to organise the exhibition itself, HOWEVER, we are still supporting the care experienced community in accessing art materials and encouraging all creative CEP to use their talents whilst at home. We would love to see what you are working on!
After the huge success of our Art and Poetry Exhibitions in 2019 (see link to brochure below), we are planning a bigger, better exhibition this year. If you are care experienced (any age) and would like to have your talents showcased free of charge, please do get in touch! We can assist in the purchasing of arts materials aswell offering 1-2-1 guidance, support and brainstorming.
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: We are still arranging for interviews to take place via phone and Skype for participants who would like to take part. Although it is likely that the finished performance and National Refugee Week 2020 itself will be postponed, we are still working on our verbatim script.
We are looking for care experienced asylum seekers and refugees who are willing to share their experiences with us. These first-hand accounts will be compassionately adapted into monologues and part of a unique new play to be performed in honour of Refugee Week 2020.
Have your story heard
Interviews are on an informal basis and we can work around you. In some cases, we can help with travel costs to whichever venue you choose to have your interview. These will be audio recorded.
You do not need to perform your monologue, but you can if you want. Let us know.
You can remain anonymous if you wish.
Actors callouts to follow.
How it works : If you are someone you know is interested in this project, please contact our Arts Projects Coordinator : email@example.com
Every month, we will be sharing the work of a care experienced person who expresses themselves through different creative mediums. Our fourth creative is Princess Bestman.
Princess is an actor, theatre maker and poet. She says,
"I am from London. I went into care at 11 years old and left at 18.
I am an aspiring actor currently at Drama School. My interests lie specifically in devised work. I am all passionate about directing work, as I would like to create a theatre company in the future. I have always been artistic, so have always written monologues, songs and poems as well as sketching and painting, which I don’t have the opportunity to do that much anymore.
Everything I do has always been as a creative outlet and a way of coping with difficult experiences. I find interest in anything creative, however my primary interest is in theatre. My love for theatre started from a young age and I have continued to discover new aspects of the industry that interest me. The ability to create something that can inspire others and urge them to view society from different perspectives is key to my work and I am always looking to be inspired by others.
I am currently in my second year at Drama school. Upon graduation, I hope to create my own work. My aim for the future is to create a theatre company for care leavers interested in theatre."
In late summer 2019, we launched our first National Short story Competition for care experienced writers. Our criteria and aims were simple: to create a friendly and open competition where norms of grading spelling, grammar and a pressure to delve into autobiographical detail, was avoided and where creative storytelling was paramount. The idea came from one of our Care Experienced Ambassadors Jacqui Adams who said, "I woke up one morning with the idea of a Short Story Competition, restricted to Care Experienced People and to encourage those who are not confident with writing for many reasons."
On 31st October 2019, we had our Awards Ceremony at Midlands Arts Centre, Edgbaston. It was an incredible evening; bringing together members of the Care Experienced community with non care experienced professionals, government representatives and local dignitaries.
We were fortunate enough to have prizes added to our own award bundle from the amazing IMO, MADLUG, and Green Willow Healing. These included audio book vouchers, writing kits, Birchboxes, aromatherapy goods, sweets and rucksacks. Thank you!
If you would like to read two of our winning entries you can do so, here:
Maggie by David Grimm.
No sugars please by Tychique Ciamala.
Congratulations from all at Rees Foundation.
Mind Vomit by Saira Jayne Jones.
If you would like to know more information, or if you would like to pitch an idea relating to any of the arts (Fine art, poetry, writing, photography, drama, art etc) please contact our Arts Project Coordinator : firstname.lastname@example.org
Aftercare is the continuation of work in partnership with the care experienced community and other stakeholders with a particular focus on living independently and developing a peer network of support, friendship and connectedness together with help in finding employment, education and/or training. We also provide financial support, small grants and help towards driving lessons.